Predicting the Biggest FA Cup, Liga, Serie a Matches: Key Clashes for Big Guns

Dan ColasimoneContributor IJanuary 23, 2014

Barcelona's  Lionel Messi from Argentina shoots the ball during their la Copa del Rey soccer match against Levante at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia, Spain, Wednesday Jan. 22, 2014. The Argentinean plays his 400th game in a Barcelona shirt in the Copa del Rey against Levante. (AP Photo/Alberto Saiz)
Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

This weekend sees the EPL take a break for a round of FA Cup matches, while Serie A and La Liga are both full steam ahead.

Chelsea take on Stoke City in the last FA Cup tie of the round, while in two of the biggest matches in Italy, Lazio play Juventus, and Fiorentina face Genoa.

Atletico Madrid have a relatively easy looking game on paper against relegation-threatened Rayo Vallecano, so both Real Madrid and Barcelona will be looking to avoid slip-ups against Granada and Malaga, respectively.

It should be an exciting weekend of European football. Here, we predict the results of some of the most fascinating matchups from around the continent.


FA Cup: Chelsea vs. Stoke City

Stamford Bridge, London

Sunday, January 26

Lefteris Pitarakis/Associated Press

It has been a big week for Chelsea, who crushed Manchester United 3-1 in the Premier League to stay within two points of table-toppers Arsenal, then sold midfielder to the Red Devils for £37 million (via BBC Sport). The Blues are in form and traditionally take the FA Cup very seriously. Stoke, meanwhile, have gone five league matches without a win and will be looking at the cup as an opportunity to turn things around. 

Prediction: Unlike some of the other big teams, Chelsea are unlikely to get caught off guard in the FA Cup and should be too strong for Stoke here. Chelsea 3-0.


Serie A: Lazio vs. Juventus

Stadio Olimpico, Rome

Saturday, January 25

Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

Italian champions Juventus lost to Roma in the Coppa Italia at this stadium during the week and now must return to face the other Roman giants, Lazio. The capital club have been in excellent form since reappointing Edy Reja as manager, notching three wins and a draw. Juve's league form is second to none, however, and they will be looking to register a remarkable 13th straight win on Saturday.

Prediction: After suffering just their second domestic defeat of the season against Roma on Tuesday, Juventus may have had their confidence shaken just a little, and Lazio are a tough proposition at home. Draw 1-1


Serie A: Fiorentina vs. Genoa

Stadio Artemio Franchi

Sunday, January 26

Fabrizio Giovannozzi/Associated Press

Fourth-placed Fiorentina take on 10th-placed Genoa in Florence on Sunday in what should prove an interesting test for the Viola. Vincenzo Montella's side have four wins and a draw from their last five matches and have not conceded a single goal in that run. Genoa, meanwhile, despite scoring some impressive wins this season, have struggled for consistency. With only two away wins all season, Genoa are unlikely to have the firepower to overcome the flying Florentines. Fiorentina 1-0.


La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Granada

Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

Saturday, January 25

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

So intense is the race at the pointy end of La Liga that even a draw against a mid-ranking club can be considered a disaster for any of the top-three sides, let alone a loss. Real Madrid will be looking for a quick kill against Granada and with Cristiano and friends in supreme form at the moment. The visitors will do well to limit the damage against their daunting opponents. Real Madrid 4-1.


La Liga: Barcelona vs. Malaga

Camp Nou

Sunday, January 26

Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

The Catalans sit on top of the table at present, but by the time they face Malaga on Sunday night, both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could have leapfrogged them with wins in their own fixtures. The pressure will be on Gerardo Martino's side. Malaga have not managed a win against Barcelona since 2003, however, and with Lionel Messi getting back into the groove, the Spanish champions should be able to outgun their opponents. Barcelona 2-0.